The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 brought the Soviet Union and the United States into a brink of initiating nuclear war. Following the reconnaissance photos revealing the installation of missile bases in the Caribbean Island, Washington prepared its military forces to invade Cuba. Equally, the Soviet forces stationed in Cuba were ready to comply with order instructing them to retaliate with nuclear weapons. This set the stage for a catastrophic confrontation. However, the October negotiations through correspondence letters between the Soviet Premier and President Kennedy assumed an empathy spirit that brew rationalism. This translated in ending the Cold War crisis as both realized how close the two countries were in converting the conflict into nuclear war. Consequently, the international relation changed as both countries altered their foreign policy to allow mutual coexistence.


The Cuban Missile Crisis witnessed in October 1962 brought the two super nations, the United States and the Soviet Union to a closer edge of initiating nuclear war. The reconnaissance images captured in the middle of October revealed Soviet-built missile bases in Cuba, approximately ninety miles from its coast. This ensued president Kennedy to quarantine Cuba as the opposing sides ramped up military engagements. As the U.S prepared its military forces, Soviet forces were instructed to deploy nuclear weapons once the former invaded Cuba. This left a ready stage with potential to cause disastrous confrontation as negotiations between the Soviet premier Khrushchev and President Kennedy stalled, slaying the hope of non-violent resolutions . However, the Soviet agreed to withdraw its missiles in exchange for a similar gesture in the U.S removing its Turkey-based missiles. The outcome of the Cuba missile crisis generated a lasting alteration to the existing course of the Cold War, reflected in their changed foreign policy from confrontation to mutual coexistence.

Transforming Conflict to Peaceful Co-existence

The confrontation emerging between the United States against Cuba, traces to the Eisenhower’s administration when Batista emerged a friendly dictator. However, the relationship between the two countries worsened with Fidel Castro overthrowing Batista in 1959. Equally, the United witnessed the change of leadership crown with Kennedy triumphing the Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. Partly, the former won by playing the fictitious missile-gap by citing the relaxed Republicans let the Soviets assume missile advantages over their country . The claim that the Soviet Union built more nuclear bombs and nuclear arsenal, established Kennedy with the credentials of a leader who will not surrender to the emerging communist threat .

Although President Kennedy inherited the Cuban crisis from the Republican, his stance against the Castro worsened the situation. In particular, the diverse approaches utilized by the Democratic administration aimed at relieving Cuba from the Castro’s leadership. Imposing diplomatic isolation, ousting Cuba from the Organization of American States, harsh economic embargo, intelligence assistance to rebelling anti-Castro groups, conducting exile raids and multiple assassination plots, alongside Operation Mongoose demonstrated principal hostility to the Cuban leader . This yielded a frightening crisis and unvarnished hostility that Castro perceived as signs of inevitable invasion by Washington.

The tough policies embraced by Kennedy and perceptions by Castro of inevitable invasion, inspired Khrushchev to install Soviet missiles in the Caribbean nation. The Soviet premier would cite this move by defend-Cuba theory, assisting a Moscow ally, generating a socialist model that other Latin American nations would emulate, correcting the imbalance initiated by increased American nuclear arsenal near the Soviet frontiers. Further, the impression of weak leadership in Kennedy during the Vienna Summit and the desire by the Soviets to improve their powerful hand amidst the Berlin dispute motivated this deployment . The secrecy in building the missiles made it difficult for the US to initiate forceful actions from both a political and public relations aspect.

The revelation of the Soviet bases in Cuba illustrated by U-2 reconnaissance photographs convinced the president to convene an executive committee charged to decide on how the U.S would solve the situation. The committee identified as ExCom, raced against time prior to the missile bases becoming fully operational. However, their deliberations remained under great influence of resulting political and strategic implications. The question in dispute was assessing whether the emplacement of the missile bases in Cuba had the potential to alter the power balance between the two nations. It emerged that Washington would not tolerate the presence of such bases as the Soviet threatened through their intercontinental ballistic missiles advancements . This transpired to the conclusion that installing and operating the shorter-range missiles from the CaribbeanIsland will greatly empower the Soviets capability.

ExCom evaluated the political implications by concluding that the Soviet missiles in the communist Cuba would principally violate the existing American Monroe Doctrine. This would end the Washington predominance in the Latin and South American hemisphere. The committee reached a final decision termed the Soviet presence in Cuba an unacceptable encroachment to its existing sphere of influencing America. The deliberations saw the committee narrow to two options, marked by their distinct divisions. The Hawks preferred air strikes to destroy the installations blend with a military invasion against the communist, while the doves recommended erecting a naval blockade to embargo potential military shipments to Cuba. Kennedy embraced the latter by ordering a naval quarantine that would place the Soviets on a route to back-down while saving his political face. As letters of correspondence sent by both leaders emerged every day in the unfolding crisis, the occasion brought them to eyeball-to-eyeball contact . At this time, Soviet ships with military supplies turned around as the others were let to pass the blockade.

After the heated argument took to the United Nations Security Council, Khrushchev offered a possible settlement through his correspondence letter. However, the letter sent to the Soviet premier by a convinced Castro of the American invasion asked Khrushchev to retaliate with nuclear strikes against the U.S. This led the premier to accuse the United States of their double standards in objecting to the Soviet missiles in Cuba. He demanded recompense through the removal of Jupiters from Turkey. Although Kennedy ignored the Soviet requests, he gave in through a no-invasion pledge warranting the removal of the missiles under supervision of the Security Council. Eventually, all Jupiters were withdrawn from Turkey secretly as the two nations sketched a formal dialogue in November . The international community understood this as a commitment by Washington to revert its attack plans to Cuba as Kennedy lifted the naval blockade. The subdued crisis in November initiated alternation to the foreign policy between the two countries.

The Cuba crisis revealed unquestionable effects on the Soviet foreign towards the United States,with pronouncements indicating clear interests to end the Cold War tensions. This replicated Kennedy’s response illustrated in his speech at the American University affirming dealing with potential conflict through accommodation and peace built around communication. The situation warranted empathy where each of the two leaders placed himself in the enemy’s skin to analyze the U.S through the Soviet eyes. This enabled the U.S understand the Soviet thoughts that lay into their decisions to install missile bases in the Caribbean island . The hot line established between the two leaders during the crisis generated empathy as a corrective solution to all factors promoting war mis-perceptions amidst the intense conflict. The Cuban crisis brought empathy through a realistic understanding of the risk of escalating the conflict into a disastrous nuclear war.

The Cuban missile crisis left the two nations in a brink of a potential nuclear war, where both concluded as too risky to seriously initiate. This generated an improved diplomacy spirit after discovering that annihilating the enemy would hardly demand taking many nuclear bombs. Essentially, the missile crisis evoked multiple misperceptions that frightened both leaders in a process they realized that changing their foreign policies yielded the only solution to avert the potential nuclear war. This marked an evolution of their relationship which shifted from the reaction-response units to mutual coexistence sustained through open communication. In the process, the Cold War policy changed . Particularly, Kenned noted in his 1962 speech that the American empathy relaxed the tensions without relaxing their guard by labouring towards the strategy of international peace rather than nuclear annihilation.

The Cuban Missile Crisis generated empathy shared across the international community that demanded disputing parties to jump into the skin of imagining. This meant assuming the other person status and postponing the skeptical analysis by acknowledging that the enemy often failed to see through the rose-colored glasses worn by us during the crisis. This emerged in the recompense requested by the Soviet premier, demanding the withdrawal of the American Jupiters from Turkey. The process of dialogue illustrated several critical mistakes that the U.S would later ignore in their foreign policy during the Vietnam Way alongside Iraq and Afghanistan invasions. Again, the non-violent resolution stimulated empathy in international disputes by emphasizing that opponents long for peace, they fear attacks and base their actions of understandable anger .

The Cuba crisis brew an honest edge of international relations that engaging military actions has potential to induce international nuclear conflicts that would place millions of innocent lives in danger. With the two world superpowers locked in tension, engaging a negotiation process through a series of diplomatic exchanges between Whitehouse and Kremlin marked a turning point upon which the Cold War tensions thawed . By negotiation, the United States realized that complete quarantine of Cuba would not guarantee a lasting solution to the offensive nuclear weapons that left American lives on the verge of destruction risk.

The understanding traces to the Cuban missile crisis that led the two republics to conclude that failure to improve their foreign policies through non-violent solutions would not avert mass social destruction in the disastrous nuclear warfare. The Cuban crisis created the realization in the gradual stages of negotiation that strengthened the previous hostile relationship between the two superpowers. The end of the Cuban Missile Crisis through mutual withdrawal of NATO bases from Turkey and the Soviet missiles in Cuba, laid the foundation that relaxed the Cold War tension. The non-invasive blend marked an essential turning point acknowledge in their realization that military actions against each other would worsen and sculpt the international community in destructions spread to future generations . If Kennedy missed the good judgement of the Khrushchev request for recompense in a public pronouncement, such would have eliminated the platform that led to stronger affiliations in prioritizing international peace.

Although Kennedy advisers discarded Khrushchev request of the withdrawal of the Turkish missiles as a lacking sense, it thrust the U.S into a potential Turkish missile crisis. This would accompany the Cold War tensions into consecutive missile crisis. For instance, by juxtaposing the Jupiter missiles in Turkey with the Cuban missiles, Kennedy assessed the Soviet score on moral dimension. After all, judging the tension by the world opinion on Soviet counterargument for installing their missiles in Cuba, Khrushchev won a foundation for the international relation. This suggested that what remained permissible for one country to engage in was equally permissible for others to emulate . For this reason, it brought a platform ending the controversy quickly by mandating statesmen aware of their responsibility of solving complex situations through sober engagement. This normalized the tension through non-violent solutions without exposing the two nations into military catastrophe.

The public response by the Soviet premier placed the dangerous conflict into speedy liquidation that yielded confidence to the disputing parties. In particular, Khrushchev orders to dismantle the installation of missile bases in Cuba, described offensive emphasized the quest of peace both to the American people and the Soviet citizens. The cessation of further installation of the Soviet weapons demanded that a unified pledge of no invasions on Cuba by both the U.S and other countries occupying the Western Hemisphere . This yielded improved empathy in the U.S government that successfully lowered the odds of initiating mass destruction to citizens of both countries.

The non-violent resolution of the Cuban missile crisis represents a turning point for the East-West relations as a foundation of realist discipline of international relations. The October Cuban missile crisis perceived as the climax of the looming Cold War tensions reversed the Ckausewitzian formula. In particular, it reversed the belief that conducting politics in peacetime mandated a continuous war. However, the containment shared by the two leaders through rationalism and empathy turned from a nuclear risk to an end of military aggression. This became evident in the replacement of the conflictual competition with a bargaining strategy as the endemic feature of contemporary world politics. The nuclear risk during the Cuban missile crisis created a historic moment that urged conflicting statesmen to value long-term accomplishment of disciplined resolutions by subordination military aggression .


The primary lesson derived from the Cuban missile crisis illustrates that obtaining an indefinite blend between human imperfection and increased nuclear weapons will destroy innocent lives at present and for future generations. However, it is through the empathy and rational consideration that disputing countries can avert the danger that exists in today’s world of advanced weapons. Kennedy became rational, as Khrushchev illustrated rationalism thoughts on the counter deal replicated by Castro accepting to allow the Soviet to withdraw the nuclear warheads and the short-range ballistic missiles. However, future research should prioritize studying why the United States overlooked empathy and rationalism in subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanstan.


  • Blight, James G, and Janet M Lang. The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
  • Clark, Cynthia L. The American Economy: a Historical Encyclopedia. California: Santa Barbara, 2011.
  • Dougherty, Kevin. Weapons of Mississippi. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 2010.
  • Gioe, David, Len Scott, and Christopher Andrew. An International History of the Cuban Missile Crisis: A 50-year Retrospective. London: Routledge, 2014.
  • Guzzini, Stefano. Realism in International Relations and International Political Economy: The Continuing Story of a Death Foretold. London: Routledge, 2013.
  • Hastedt, Glenn P. Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations: A-J. Santa Barbara: Eurospan, 2009.
  • Hofmann, Arne. The Emergence of DÚtente in Europe: Brandt, Kennedy and the Formation of Ostpolitik. London: Routledge, 2007.
  • Keylor, William R. A World of Nations: The International Order Since 1945. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Lüthi, Lorenz M. The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • Lynch, Timothy J. The Oxford encyclopedia of American military and diplomatic history . New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Njølstad, Olav. The Last Decade of the Cold War: From Conflict Escalation to Conflict Transformation. East Sussex: Psychology Press, 2004.
  • Winter, Mick. Cuba for the Misinformed: Facts from the Forbidden Island but only if you’re an American. Westsong Publishing, 2013.
Before you go, you are invited to support a noble cause on IndieGoGo:
HTML Snippets Powered By :